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Off to a flyer

"With a drop of a shoulder and the swipe of a boot, Nick Powell made an instant impact on his goalscoring Old Trafford debut in September and on Tuesday, in Istanbul, the 18 year-old summer recruit enhanced his burgeoning reputation with another classy display."

- Mark Froggatt, ManUtd.com

21/11/2012 14:00, Report by Mark Froggatt
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Blog: Powell's progress

Those were noteworthy words from a man whose ability to develop talent is legendary. Gradi’s view also reveals the extraordinary faith held in his latest protégée, after watching him score 16 goals during his first proper League Two campaign last term.

Similarly, take note of the glimmer in Sir Alex Ferguson’s eye when discussing his latest talent. The boss, who knows how to polish a rough diamond, is comparable to a man sitting on a winning lottery ticket - he knows he's won the jackpot. After beating Wigan, the boss said: “Powell is going to be a really good player who, we hope, will fill Paul Scholes' boots in terms of he's got terrific vision, good temperament, two great feet, is quick and is a great striker of the ball.”

That is quite a comparison, considering how many luminaries of the game including Zinedine Zidane, Andreas Iniesta and Edgar Davids have proclaimed Scholes as the greatest of his generation. Thankfully, Powell is level-headed.

While some youngsters are distracted by the trappings of professional football, this teenage sensation is too grounded to get carried away, citing his dad as a reality check - perhaps also a side effect of working under Gradi since the age of five. 

“The expectations of you are there but fulfilling them is the challenge, especially when you consider that there will probably never be another Scholes,” Powell told United Review.

Realistically, of course, Powell cannot be expected to emulate Scholes as, quite simply, lightning does not strike twice. Based on the early signs, however, the future looks bright.

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